Red Rubber Ball


It’s Monday morning and your teen-age heart has had time to learn some profound teen-age lessons. . .

Written by Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley of The Seekers, and performed by a two-hit wonder, The Cyrkle (“Turn Down Day”). They opened for The Beatles in their final live performance.

New York’s Greatest Headlines, Weiner Edition



Another strong showing from The New York Post, though to be fair, it’s hard not to write a funny headline about Anthony Weiner. But I have to admit, “Dickileaks” is inspired, and moves today’s headline up to the top ranks of journalistic front cover endeavors.

Everyone Says I Love You


The Bert Kalmar/Harry Ruby ditty as performed by Zeppo, Harpo, Chico, and Groucho Marx.

And in our magician radar, we find Bert Kalmar who performed magic in tent shows when he was ten years old.

Don’t Explain: Billie Holiday


Billie Holiday performed this song throughout her career, but I especially like this 1956 live version, which has much less of an intrusive orchestral backing than the studio Decca recordings of the 40s had. I think this was the first Billie Holiday song I ever heard, and it remains one of my favorites.

Thanks to YouTuber RoundMidnightTV

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door


Monday, roll out of bed, and answer the door. It’s the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature winner trying to get in…

Literature? Nah, just a great friggin’ song.  A lyric is a heck of a different thing from a poem.

Thanks to YouTuber mike campbell

Scoundrel Time


When I was an adolescent, I delightedly stumbled across a book in my local library called Marked Cards and Loaded Dice, a volume which purportedly exposed the tools and methods of crooked gamblers. The book was written by an excellent magician named Frank Garcia, who I later learned often held court at the local magic establishment, Tannen’s. His genial manner was very smooth and convincing.

At that time in NYC, David Susskind, a theater, film and television producer, had a late night television program called Open End that seemed to go on for hours. Susskind was often derided as being insufferably pompous, so it was with some happiness that I came across this video of Garcia with his magic rendering Susskind nearly speechless.

Click on the video to play. Thanks to YouTuber MrMagicbymax

The Second Time Around




My colleague Mary Murphy and I had such fun making the WBAI membership promos, that we created three more amusing promos, specifically for the Arts Express radio magazine show.

You can hear the three one-minute promos by clicking on the grey triangle above.

The Second Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest

trophy oprah


I had so much fun last year running a magic contest, and got such a nice response, that I thought I’d run another one this year.

So here is the challenge this year: provide an original script for your favorite magic presentation. The script should not include method, unless it’s your method to reveal. Let’s assume that we know the method if the trick is a classic; if the method is yours, however, then you should include the method; if the effect is someone else’s commercial effect, please do not include the method, but provide a link to a video or description of the effect, so that we can see how your presentation has improved the standard presentation.

You don’t need to be a professional or anything like that, hobbyists are welcome to participate as well.

Your entry will be judged on the effectiveness, originality, and usability of the presentation. Feel free to provide a video if that helps your explanation, but your entry will be judged ultimately on your presentation script. While your entry should not reveal method unless it’s your method to reveal, you should have all the beats to account for method Details and specifics are key.

First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of magic books and DVDs I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books or DVDs, at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to have.

And in the spirit of everyone being a winner, I’ll ask all entrants to allow me to make up a pdf file which includes their entry. This pdf will NOT BE SOLD, but will be offered only as a free download to all those who entered.

Send your entries please to

Make sure to put the word CONTEST in the subject line

Deadline Monday,  Oct 31, 11:59 PM.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Lady Came From Baltimore: Tim Hardin and Twiggy


Yes, Twiggy. A fairly odd couple, but in my opinion it’s a surprisingly lovely rendition of a Tim Hardin classic. Twiggy had a BBC program in the 70s, and Hardin was her guest.

Thanks to YouTuber WiggyVideos13